Editor’s Note: Have you ever wondered how White Nationalism got started? What is the source of this impulse which is foreign to Europe? From what I have learned, I believe it evolved out of clashes between English settlers and Indians in 17th century North America which shaped White racial attitudes. White supremacy was a pragmatic response to the frontier.
The following excerpt is from Jean B. Russo and J. Elliot Russo’s book Planting an Empire: The Early Chesapeake in British North America:
“Moving quickly from farm to farm, and frequently taking up tools and weapons readily at hands in colonists’ homes and fields along a one-hundred-mile stretch of the James River, warriors killed the English regardless of age or gender, burned fields and buildings, and slaughtered livestock. Employing many of the tactics that Dale had used before the 1614 truce, Indians killed 347 colonists, nearly one-third of the English population, and forced survivors to seek refuge in a handful of fortified settlements.
Yet even this brutal assault and the months of warfare that followed failed to dislodge the English. In fact, Opechancanough’s attack, which the English perceived as unprovoked, strengthened their resolve to occupy tidewater lands and establish themselves as overlords of the Chesapeake region. Ironically, the “great Massacre” removed the one constraint that had kept the English from pressing the advantage provided by their supply of weapons and growing numbers. Up until 1622, a persistent imperative to cast the Virginia as a godly mission to Christianize and civilize Native Americans dictated at least a veneer of humane treatment and moral behavior. Now the Company’s leaders abandoned all efforts to proselytize and ceased any negotiation for permission to settle in Indian territory. Instead, the colonists’ “first worke” henceforth would be “expulsion of the Salvages to gaine the free range of the countrey,” and they quickly reverted to Dale’s methods of subjugating the countryside through raids that destroyed villages and crops as well as people. …”
The 1622 attack on Jamestown was a turning point.
We’ve forgotten how common race war used to be in the past. The 1622 attack on the English colonists in Jamestown was America’s first race war. It was a White genocide. There were many others examples like King Philip’s War in New England, Pontiac’s Rebellion on the Appalachian frontier, the Fort Mims Massacre in Alabama and the Yamasee War in South Carolina which were seared into the minds of our ancestors and shaped the way they thought about race relations and White identity.
Why were the “Native Americans” displaced from their lands by White settlers? The way we talk about it today has been filtered through the prism of modern day political correctness which didn’t take root in the United States until the 1980s and 1990s. The darker truth is that the English colonists had initially attempted to build a “Christian” multiracial society in both Virginia and New England and that colonization had partly been motivated and justified by a religious impulse to convert the Indians.
After the Indians attempted to exterminate the English colonists in Virginia and New England, White racial attitudes dramatically hardened and Indian policy changed. The Jamestown colonists built a wall across the peninsula between the James and York Rivers, expelled all the Indians and replaced them with White English settlers. It was a pragmatic response to a bitter experience.
In the video below, we learn an interesting story about Massasoit and the first Thanksgiving in New England which is remembered today in America as this hackneyed story of racial harmony. Massasoit’s son was Metacom better known as King Philip who attempted to drive the Puritans into the sea. Similarly, the story of Pocahontas in Virginia is used to build a happy narrative of multicultural racial harmony in colonial America. After Powhatan died in 1618, his brother Opechancanough attempted to exterminate the English in 1622. The Powhatans launched a second devastating attack in 1644 and their claim to the Virginia Tidewater ended in war and bloodshed in the early 17th century.
Note: Watch the Jill Lepore video. The Puritan settlers in New England attempted to make multiculturalism work in their godly society. They had these Indians towns full of Christian Indians. It was a major source of pride for them to boast that they weren’t bigots like the cruel Spanish. It nearly brought about the end of New England in one of the most devastating conflicts in American history.